Welcome to the nbmagazine.co.uk stop on the blog tour for Timothy Jay Smith’s The Fourth Courier!

Here’s a little info about the book:

For International Espionage Fans of Alan Furst and Daniel Silva, a new thriller set in post-Soviet era Poland.

It is 1992 in Warsaw, Poland, and the communist era has just ended. A series of grisly murders suddenly becomes an international case when it’s feared that the victims may have been couriers smuggling nuclear material out of the defunct Soviet Union. The FBI sends an agent to help with the investigation. When he learns that a Russian physicist who designed a portable atomic bomb has disappeared, the race is on to find him—and the bomb—before it ends up in the wrong hands.

Smith’s depiction of post-cold war Poland is gloomily atmospheric and murky in a world where nothing is quite as it seems. Suspenseful, thrilling, and smart, The Fourth Courier brings together a straight white FBI agent and gay black CIA officer as they team up to uncover a gruesome plot involving murder, radioactive contraband, narcissistic government leaders, and unconscionable greed.

And about author Timothy Jay Smith:

Raised crisscrossing America pulling a small green trailer behind the family car, Timothy Jay Smith developed a ceaseless wanderlust that has taken him around the world many times. Polish cops and Greek fishermen, mercenaries and arms dealers, child prostitutes and wannabe terrorists, Indian Chiefs and Indian tailors: he hung with them all in an unparalleled international career that saw him smuggle banned plays from behind the Iron Curtain, manoeuvre through Occupied Territories, represent the U.S. at the highest levels of foreign governments, and stowaway aboard a “devil’s barge” for a three-days crossing from Cape Verde that landed him in an African jail.

These experiences explain the unique breadth and sensibility of Tim’s work, for which he’s won top honours. Fire on the Island won the Gold Medal in the 2017 Faulkner-Wisdom Competition for the Novel. He won the Paris Prize for Fiction (now the Paris Literary Prize) for his novel, A Vision of Angels. Kirkus Reviews called Cooper’s Promise “literary dynamite” and selected it as one of the Best Books of 2012. Tim was nominated for the 2018 Pushcart Prize. His screenplays have won numerous competitions. His first stage play, How High the Moon, won the prestigious Stanley Drama Award. He is the founder of the Smith Prize for Political Theater.

And here’s Gill Chedgey’s review of The Fourth Courier:

Hold on to your hats for this is a snappy and speedy ride into the murky world of a post-Cold War Eastern Europe. The FBI and CIA join forces to solve a series of related murders that suggest a plot of atomic proportions, quite literally.

Timothy Jay Smith has penned a gripping, intelligent thriller, atmospheric and effectively creating an uneasy picture of a Poland emerging from the last war. Palpable portraits of ordinary people living in this environment and all dealing with it in their own way, whether turning to the wrong side of the law or harbouring dreams of a better life elsewhere, provide an energetic background to the main thrust of the tale.

Nothing is quite as it seems and the reader needs to keep abreast of all the characters and their six degrees of separation and happenstance. The reader also needs to fully absorb each event in order to make sense of the unfolding dramas . The characters are boldly imagined, some flawed, victims and aggressors, but all have a functional part to play in the narrative. Most of the action take place in Warsaw, so much so that the city becomes an additional character, too, almost. The writer’s affinity with the country is obvious, immediate and infectious.

The book is obliquely informative without that information obscuring the fiction. Said fiction contains several subplots with themes of greed, romance and sex that also do not detract from the main intention of the story, rather they complement it but give the reader an opportunity to think as well. Although blurbed as an espionage thriller, any spying aspects were underplayed and it was more about greed, corruption and ambition from the highest to the lowest that fuelled the thrills.

Brutal in places, there is an underlying humour that lightens the mood too and the balance works. It’s a satisfying, no punches pulled read that drags you willingly through to its conclusion.

Gill Chedgey 4*

The Fourth Courier by Timothy Jay Smith
Arcade Publishing 9781948924108 hbk Apr 2019